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Duchess

In earlier days Duchess was an important railway and mining town which has declined since the advent of road transport.

Today, relive the glory days over a drink or two at the local Duchess Hotel where the beer and stories flow. The old Duchess Mine and the old lime quarry a little further out of town remain as reminders of more heady days.

Located 123 kilometres south west of Cloncurry, in Queensland's Outback.

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Camooweal Caves National Park

Camooweal, Mount Isa Area
Free Entry
Wide expanses of Mitchell grass plains and spinifex woodland are protected in this park on the Barkly Tableland, a peaceful stopover for weary travellers. The park features caves and sinkholes that were formed when water percolated through 500 million year-old layers of soluble dolomite creating caverns linked by vertical shafts up to 75 metres deep. Relax and refresh at this pleasant stopover on the Barkly Highway. Take the short 70 metre return walk to the Little Nowranie Cave entrance or the 220 metre return track to the Great Nowranie Cave. Be extremely cautious around the edges of the sinkholes. The caves are not accessible to visitors. Camp in a remote bush setting at Nowranie Waterhole camping area. Look for a variety of birds including waterbirds and woodland species at different times of the year. RIde your mountain bike or trail bike on the park's internal roads and firebreaks.

Boulia to Cloncurry Scenic Drive

Duchess, Cloncurry Area
Free Entry
This scenic drive is a pleasant alternative route between Cloncurry and Boulia. Pass through Malbon (the junction for the Kuridala-Selwyn railway) and the old town sites of Kuridala and Selwyn. Stop in at Duchess where only the hotel remains in this once-busy railway and mining town. Follow in the footsteps of Burke and Wills to the marked tree. This once was a Cobb and Co route for travellers of yesteryear. The road is approximately 340 kilometres long and will take approximately one day to complete. This road is only suitable for high clearance vehicles.
Free Entry
This exceptional park features spectacular gorge country, including the lush oasis of Lawn Hill Gorge, sandstone ranges and World Heritage fossils. One of Queensland's most scenic national parks, it is home to abundant and diverse wildlife. The Riversleigh fossil deposits, part of the Australian Fossil Mammal Sites (Riversleigh/Naracoorte) World Heritage Area, are among the richest and most extensive in the world. Bush camp in the gorge's popular camping area. Paddle a canoe through the mirror-like waters of the gorge and look for birds such as purple-crowned fairy-wrens and crimson finches along the creek edge, and turtles in the creek. Explore the gorge and sandstone ridges on one of the many walking tracks of varying length and difficulty. Find out about the Aboriginal heritage of the gorge and the Dreamtime story of Boodjamulla. Travel to Riversleigh to discover ancient yet amazingly well-preserved fossils of turtles, birds and mammals on the Riversleigh Fossil trail.

Lawn Hill Circuit

Lawn Hill, Burke Area
Free Entry
This circuit travels through a variety of differing landscapes through the heart of the Gulf Savannah. Discover hidden oases where pandanus palms and giant paperbarks border crystal clear waters. Rare fossils of long-extinct species are scattered throughout the awe inspiring geology. Remnants of aboriginal tradition express the ancient connection these people have with the land. Sites of pioneering heritage can also be visited. Canoeing along Lawn Hill Gorge in Boodjamulla National Park is a definite highlight of this trip. The trip is approximately 570 kilometres long and will take approximately five days to complete (this includes a couple of days at Lawn Hill National Park). Some of the river crossings require car and passes through private property.

Riversleigh Fossil Fields

Mount Isa, Mount Isa Area
Free Entry
The Australian Fossil Mammal Sites at Riversleigh and Naracoorte were inscribed in the World Heritage List in 1994 for their outstanding representation of the evolution of Australian mammals and the quality of their fossils, which are preserved in limestone. The Riversleigh section, which covers 10,000 hectares, is located in the southern section of Boodjamulla National Park in north-west Queensland. Naracoorte can be found over 2,000 kilometres away in South Australia. The Riversleigh fossil deposits are among the richest and most extensive in the world, with some fossils dating back 15 to 25 million years. The site provides exceptional examples of mammalian assemblages in a continent whose mammal evolutionary history has been the most isolated and most distinctive in the world. It includes the first records of many groups of living mammals, such as marsupial moles and feather-tailed possums, as well as other unique and extinct species such as the 'marsupial lion'. The area open to the public was one of the first fossil deposits found, and gives visitors an opportunity to view many fossilised mammals and reptiles first hand.

Combo Conservation Park

Kynuna, McKinlay Area
Free Entry
Combo Conservation Park protects a string of semi-permanent waterholes along the Diamantina River in Queensland’s outback. They are said to have been the poet A B (Banjo) Paterson's inspiration for Waltzing Matilda, Australia's most popular folk song. The waterholes marked one of seven Cobb & Co stops on the Winton to Kynuna route. Today, Combo offers visitors the opportunity to relax in a picturesque, quiet area, relatively unchanged since Paterson visited in 1895. The holes along the river are a refuge for wildlife, especially numerous bird species. Enjoy a bush picnic under the coolibah trees that grace the banks of the river. See the stone-pitched overshot weir built by Chinese labourers more than 100 years ago.

Ballara Heritage Trail

Cloncurry, Cloncurry Area
Free Entry
The Ballara Heritage Trail is a Four Wheel Drive historical adventure 60 kilometres east of Mount Isa and 60 kilometres west of Cloncurry. The track will lead you to the three major historic mining towns in the area - Bulonga, Ballara and Hightville. All three sprang to life in the early 1900s and then disappeared just as quickly soon after WW1. Copper was the mainstay of their existence, just as the great mines of the region are today. The tracks will take you into the heart of the Argylla Ranges, past spectacular formations formed millennia ago, and perhaps reveal wildlife endemic to this area only. Following on from the track to Ballara, this track also takes you to an impressive rock formation and falls known as Fountain Springs; beautiful and picturesque spot to stop for a cup of tea and a swim in the warmer months. The track can be difficult in places, particularly after rains. Be sure to heed the warnings provided, respect the sanctity of the sites and remember you are on private property. A detailed map and brochure can be obtained from the Cloncurry Unearthed Visitor Information Centre. Explore and enjoy.

Cloncurry

Cloncurry, Cloncurry Area
'The Curry', as Cloncurry is affectionately known by locals, is most famous for being the birthplace of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). Conceived and launched by the Reverend John Flynn in the 1920s, this flying medical service is just as integral to the people of the outback today as it ever was. At the John Flynn Place Museum and Art Gallery, learn about the founding of the RFDS and how Flynn harnessed the emerging technology of the pedal radio to pioneer outback communication. On the theme of aviation, visit the original Qantas hangar where the first passenger flew from Longreach to Cloncurry in 1922. Some say that Qantas was conceived in Winton, born in Cloncurry and grew up in Longreach, so all three towns played a massive part in the Australian icon's development. Cloncurry was named by explorer Robert O'Hara Burke and you can see his drink bottle at the Burke and Wills display in the Cloncurry Unearthed Museum at the Cloncurry/Mary Kathleen Memorial Park, where you can learn about the former Mary Kathleen uranium mine. Mining still plays a huge role in the town's economy with some of Australia's largest copper deposits in the region. If your visit coincides with the Cloncurry Stockman's Challenge and Campdraft, you'll be able to witness skillful displays of bush horsemanship in a tribute to the Australian horseman. Horses and their riders work together to overcome obstacles, move cattle and demonstrate their ability, training and presentation in a series of timed events. Other attractions include the Cloncurry Cemetery with graves dating back to the 1880s, the Court House, which was built in 1898, and Chinaman Creek Dam where you can swim, picnic and take in an outback sunset.

Mount Isa

Mount Isa, Mount Isa Area
Affectionately known as the 'oasis of the outback', Mount Isa is a gleaming mirage on the horizon for travellers from all directions. Nestled among the ochre-red Selwyn Ranges, on the banks of the Leichhardt River, Mount Isa is a bustling melting pot of culture and industry and also home to the world's third largest rodeo. It's grown from strength to strength over the years but the harsh picturesque landscape has barely changed, becoming one of the main draw-cards for visitors each year. Mount Isa has ample places to fish, camp or relax and enjoy an outback sunset. The rugged terrain is a four-wheel-driver's haven, and visitors can explore the region just as the pioneers of the region did many years ago. The twin jewels in Mount Isa's crown are the spectacular Lawn Hill Gorge in Boodjamulla National Park and its neighbour, the world heritage listed Riversleigh Fossil Fields. A must see is the Outback at Isa complex, incorporating the award winning Riversleigh Fossil Centre, Hard Times Mine, Sir James Foots Building, Outback Park and Visitor Information Centre. The Hard Times Mine is a working replica mine designed and operated by actual miners where you can gain an insight into the industry integral to Mount Isa's economy. Mount Isa's existence and its main financial base is the huge Mount Isa Mine, the world's largest single producer of copper, silver, lead and zinc. In 1923, John Campbell Miles found a silver-lead ore outcrop. This rich deposit is still producing high volumes of ore and is classed as one of the world's great mines. Other attractions are the School of the Air, which provides an education to students on remote properties as far as 1000 kilometres away via satellite internet. Mount Isa is also home to one of Queensland's largest Royal Flying Doctors bases, the National Trust Tent House, a WW2 Underground Hospital and the Beth Anderson Museum. If you're in town in August, try and time your visit with the Mount Isa Rodeo, one of the largest in the world.

Duchess

Duchess, Cloncurry Area
In earlier days Duchess was an important railway and mining town which has declined since the advent of road transport. Today, relive the glory days over a drink or two at the local Duchess Hotel where the beer and stories flow. The old Duchess Mine and the old lime quarry a little further out of town remain as reminders of more heady days. Located 123 kilometres south west of Cloncurry, in Queensland's Outback.
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